Land use in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (the Boulevard) Corridor ranges in general from higher density residential in the first half-mile north of Columbia Street, to lower-density residential north of Umstead Drive. Pockets of office, commercial, and higher-density residential also occur in a patchwork fashion thorughout the corridor. Near Interstate 40, recent large-scale commercial development has taken place. Between the automobile-oriented activity of his development and the older neighborhoods close to the Town four miles south, most of the corridor has either a suburban or even rural feel, depending on the age and nature of adjoining development.
Most buildings, whether residential, office, commercial, or institutional, are either set well back from the Boulevard or do not face it at all, but rather are oriented to surrounding neighborhoods, parking lots, or adjacent streets. This largely suburban pattern of building orientation is the predominant .look. of the street, except in the half-mile south of the Bolin Creek bridge, where a prewar development pattern of houses facing the street can be seen.
The future development of Carolina North, a new campus of UNC Chapel Hill slated for the old Airport site, will have a significant impact on the character of the middle third of the corridor. Some early proposals have called for utilizing the Boulevard as a “Main Street,” thus orienting buildings toward it. Whether this pattern or a more suburban model is chosen will influence the future form of not only the Boulevard but also of other developments nearby.
The complete study is available as a single PDF file [18.9 MB].